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Counter-coalition formed to fight local broadcasters over distribution rules

Sara Fischer AXIOS
Thought Leader: Sara Fischer
July 27, 2023
Source: AXIOS

Several of the country’s biggest entertainment and streaming companies are teaming up to fight hundreds of local broadcasters over a years-old provision that would determine whether they are forced to negotiate directly with those local stations for distribution deals.

Why it matters: The last time the Federal Communications Commission took a hard look at the issue was nearly 10 years ago.

Details: The Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition, which launches on Thursday, is made up of major entertainment companies and their broadcast networks.

How it works: The regulatory provision being debated forces traditional live TV providers, like cable and satellite firms, to negotiate directly with local broadcasters for distribution. Because streamers are not defined the same way as traditional video distributors, they are not subject to that rule.

The other side: The Coalition for Local News, which launched last week, argues the FCC needs to revisit the rule because the media landscape has changed.

Zoom in: Local broadcast companies, like Scripps, Nexstar, Sinclair and others, pay broadcast networks to license their content, but produce their own local newscasts.

What’s next: A few members of Congress have started to address the issue recently, most notably, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee.

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